New Zealand Red Wines
A wonderful country. I spent a year in New Zealand and toured both north and south islands. Wine making is a relatively new venture in the land of the long white cloud. There were virtually no grapes planted on south island until the 1970s! And already cool climate Marlborough has given the world a completely new style of wine with it’s sensational sauvignon blanc. Love it or hate it, there’s no other wine in the world like it. The cooler climate of the south island is also ideal for pinot noir and they make some stunning examples. As all the vineyards are virtually new, it’s the pioneering spirit of couples and families that has been the back bone of New Zealand red wine, while the rest of the world was being dominated by corporate brands.
The New Zealand red wine industry has flourished and the number of wineries has virtually doubled in the last ten years from 600 or so to well over 1000, with the emergence of many boutique wineries. Anybody who has travelled to New Zealand knows that they are blessed with vast tracts of fertile land and usually great weather too, producing an abundance of fresh produce. They have a very healthy diet and lifestyle, and this passion for quality natural produce has influenced their winemaking. Steer clear of the mass produced brands, and particularly all the UK bottled “own label” Sauvignon Blanc that has flooded the UK since the credit crunch, and you will discover that there are many boutique wineries producing outstanding quality wines.
The Gimblett Gravels area of Hawke’s Bay has become world famous for quality reds, particularly Bordeaux varietals (such as Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec), and Syrah too. Hawke’s Bay is also renowned for producing New Zealand’s best Chardonnay. Waiheke Island is producing some outstanding reds, Martinborough is now recognised as a top region for Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, and Central Otago and Canterbury are producing world class Reisling as well as the Pinot Noir they’re famous for.
The New Zealand dollar is strong though so it is very difficult to source good red wines at the right price. For this reason we have stopped shipping directly from New Zealand and for the forseeable future, we are sourcing our New Zealand red wines through UK agents.
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